August 2011

August 29 — Albany to Kalgan River, 19.95 klms, Avg speed 14.4 kph, Cycling time 1.22 hrs; Total kms 21,551

Well we’re back on the bikes 3 weeks earlier than planned due to the warmer than anticipated weather.  It was really sad to leave Albany, we made many great friends and enjoyed what Albany had to offer, but at the same time we’re looking forward to our next challenge, crossing the Nullarbor Plain at the end of September when hopefully the current Westerly wind will push us across.  So with heavy hearts we said our goodbyes to Kate & Fin, Mike & Jane, Vicky & Mike, Geraldine & Steve and the good folk at York Street Cafe and Karin at 14 Peel Place Cafe.  After being off the bikes for 2 months we gave ourselves an easy day by cycling only 20 klms to our first camp.  An important first stop 6 klms out of Albany though was coffee at The Bay Merchant at Middleton Beach to meet fellow cyclists, Mike & Vicky, who were going to ride with us to Kalgan River Caravan Park.  By lunchtime we’d arrived & set up camp, it really feels great to be back on the road.  Greg seems to be covering more of his saddle than usual and we both puff and pant up the hills.  This is despite having lightened our load by about 7 kilos with stuff we no longer needed like some spare parts and clothing.... Looks like we’ll be paying a price for all our good living in Albany.

August 30 — Kalgan River to Wellstead, 89.00 klms, Avg speed 14.3 kph, Cycling time 6.11 hrs; Total kms 21,640

We knew this would be a tough day and it was, a long ride battling headwinds.  There was a plus though thanks to the recent rains & onset of warm weather, we could see & smell wildflowers throughout the bush & a scent of Eucalyptus enveloped us when the road trains rushed by.  By mid afternoon we arrived at Wellstead with sore backs & thighs, there’s nothing here except the Store but for us it offered hot showers, a camp on the oval & burgers & beer at the Store, a perfect end to the day.  While putting up the tent we were joined by some of the locals, who by the look and fumes coming from the car had been enjoying a liquid lunch and probably breakfast too.  One of them rushed to explain that the reason he couldn’t attend his sister’s wedding in Hawaii was because he couldn’t get a Passport.  Greg asked why and was told that he’d spent a bit of time “at Her Majesties Pleasure” for “growing a bit of dope”.  He then went on to say that he had a great crop of just over 10.5 kilos when the “pigs busted the party”.  Hence no overseas travel.  Introductions were made and profanity competed with rum fumes to fill the air along with jokes we completely missed the point of.  We were getting a little concerned we were going to be the evening’s entertainment when, in a cloud of dust, they took off, not before asking if we knew what marron were.  We do, but we’re none the wiser for the question.

August 31 — Wellstead to Bremer Bay, 85.90 klms, Avg speed 18.6 kph, Cycling time 4.36 hrs; Total kms 21,726

Amazingly we felt pretty good this morning, not too many aches & pains.  Another long ride but we knew the winds would be more favourable today.  After 18 klms we stopped at Boxwood Hill Roadhouse for a cuppa & muffin then headed east towards Bremer Bay being pushed along by a fantastic tailwind, what a difference to yesterday, virtually the same distance but 1.5 hours quicker.  The country is looking like a patchwork, squares of lush green interspersed with yellow canola.  We rolled into the Bremer Bay Caravan Park & tossed up whether to pitch the tent or get a cabin, with the nights still pretty cold we got a cabin, headed to the supermarket (expensive) to get inspiration for dinner (pretty low) & came away with ingredients for spag bol...yuuummmm.  Greg reckons I look like a pome, but cook like a dago.  I think that’s a compliment.